Dilly Duka: “Fun year. Owners made it fun. No pressure. Everyone enjoyed it. We were a team.” (Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
MADISON, N.J. — This is a pretty big week in the life of Dilly Duka.
On Saturday, the FC Motown captain scored a goal against Miami FC 2 in the National Premier Soccer League championship game, though the hosts lost, 3-2.
Duka and his wife Elizabeth also are expecting twins. The due date is Thursday.
Big week, indeed.
Which is where Duka’s two loves intersects. He wants to have a family and the 28-year-old midfielder is considering whether he will continue playing soccer. And if he does, at what level will it be?
He could come back to FC Motown and play in the amateur league (unless the team performs in a professional league) or sign with a pro team. While he did not mention it, Duka could even hang up his boots, if a better non-playing opportunity arose.
“I have opportunities,” Duka said. “It’s just what’s best for me and my family. I’ve got to sit down with my wife and we’ll talk about it. There are multiple opportunities. It’s what’s best for her and our future children.”
Of course, Duka has more important things on his plate this week and he’ll make that decision in due time.
Regardless what he and Elizabeth decide, the Montville, N.J. native enjoyed a memorable and dominant season as the fulcrum of the FC Motown attack. It would have been a perfect season had FC Motown won, but a franchise-record crowd of 2,143 was entertained by a pretty decent match.
And remember, Ranger Stadium’s capacity is 1,200, according to Drew University. So, the environment there Saturday was second to none, especially for someone who hails from Morris County.
“At times I thought it was amazing,” Duka said. “Local men’s team draws 2,100. That’s amazing for soccer in general. With FC Motown, with the owners are doing is really good. its showing the young kids, ‘Hey, there’s a stage for you, even before you can make pro. ‘ ”
Duka showed off his professional skills, meandering through the Miami FC 2, connecting for the equalizer in the 35th minute, only two minutes after the visitors scored.
“Dilly 1 v 1 vs. any defender in this league, it’s always going to be him,” head coach Sacir Hot said. “Danny Cordeiro did a great job of winning the ball in the midfield and got it to Dilly. You almost feel bad for the defender when he’s 1 on 1 with Dilly and he’s finished. Our guys are great. We go down with a screamer, a beautiful goal. Sometimes you get shell-shocked because of that. Our guys got up and punched one back. They took a hit and we gave them one back.”
It turned out to be FC Motown’s second defeat of the season. Still, it did not dampen the season for the eight-year Major League Soccer veteran.
“Fun year,” Duka said. “Owners made it fun. No pressure. Everyone enjoyed it. We were a team.”
Whether Duka will be part of the 2019 team, it remains to be seen.